Perdue AgriBusiness and Fibrowatt Partner on Clean Bay Power Project
December 16, 2011 by Perdue AgriBusiness
Dec. 16, 2011, Salisbury, MD – Perdue AgriBusiness, Inc., in partnership with Fibrowatt LLC, has submitted a proposal to the state of Maryland in response to the State’s Clean Bay Power Request for Proposal. The Fibrowatt/Perdue AgriBusiness proposal calls for a combined heat and power biomass boiler operation to be located at the Perdue AgriBusiness Zion Church Road complex near Salisbury, Md. The proposed facility will provide 10 megawatts of electricity to the state as well as up to 70,000 pounds per hour of steam to the Perdue AgriBusiness complex. The renewable fuel source will be a combination of poultry litter, layer hen manure, wood chips and other locally sourced biomass.
The proposed project is another step forward in Perdue’s commitment to environmental responsibility through its renewable/alternative energy initiatives, including solar power installations, biomass energy partnerships and a litter-to-energy initiative. Perdue AgriBusiness currently uses fossil fuel to generate steam, which provides heat during various steps of soybean processing and poultry feed manufacturing. For the past two years a team has conducted a thorough review of available technologies to convert poultry litter to energy, meeting with more than 45 companies and evaluating five technology categories in the course of its review.
“Our conclusion at this point is that the only commercially viable technology is combustion. The other technologies, while promising to varying degrees, represent a significant risk of project failure compared to combustion,” said Perdue AgriBusiness President Dick Willey.
The Clean Bay Energy program makes sense based on Perdue AgriBusiness’ track record of providing alternatives for land application of poultry litter and experience in alternative energy projects. In 2001 Perdue AgriBusiness established a subsidiary, Perdue AgriRecycle, LLC, which converts poultry litter to a pasteurized, pelletized organic fertilizer. This provides poultry growers with an important management alternative for their litter. Since its establishment, Perdue AgriRecycle has shipped approximately 12 million pounds of nitrogen and 7.5 million pounds of phosphorous (P2O5) out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Through Perdue AgriRecycle, Perdue AgriBusiness is the largest buyer of poultry litter in Maryland.
In addition, Perdue AgriBusiness has experience in a variety of alternative/renewable energy projects, sourcing feedstock and/or partnering with other companies on biodiesel, ethanol, solar and biomass projects. Perdue AgriBusiness currently has two biomass boiler operations (using wood, peanut hulls and cotton gin waste) in North Carolina. These are combined heat and power operations providing process steam and electricity.
Fibrowatt brings unique and extensive experience in the combustion of poultry litter to the project. Fibrowatt’s management team has been developing and operating poultry-litter-fueled power plants for a total of 21 years. The company originated in the United Kingdom with the original poultry-powered plant consisting of a small boiler fueled on a test basis with poultry litter to provide heat to a local distillery. Following this first design, a 13 megawatt poultry-litter-fueled power plant in Eye, UK (the world’s first) was constructed, and two other subsequent plants (14 megawatt and 39 megawatt) were constructed before the team came to the United States.
In 2007, Benson, Minn., became home to the United States’ first operating poultry litter plant, the Fibrominn Biomass Power Plant. The 55 megawatt power plant combusts more than 700,000 tons of litter and biomass annually.
“We are excited about this project because it supports agriculture and the environment,” said Willey. “It supports both animal agriculture and crop production in Maryland by providing poultry growers an additional management alternative for their poultry litter yet keeping litter, a great fertilizer and soil amendment, available to crop producers for appropriate application.
“Environmentally, this project will remove a significant amount of poultry litter from land application, thereby eliminating the risk of any portion of the nitrogen or phosphorous in this litter or manure from finding its way into the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Willey said.
“The economic and environmental benefits resulting from the proposed project align the interests of the State, environmental groups and the agriculture sector with the U.S. EPA’s goals of improving the Chesapeake Bay,” said Jim Potter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Homeland Renewable Energy Inc., the parent company of Fibrowatt. “This proposed project will continue our successful legacy of developing, financing, constructing and operating power projects that combust poultry litter.
“Our Fibrominn plant, located less than 1/2 mile from the city of Benson, Minn., has never received a single complaint from the local Citizens Advisory Panel. This is testimony to the importance we place on being a good neighbor in any community in which we locate.”
Benson Mayor Paul Kittelson welcomes visitors who would like to see for themselves. “We extend a warm welcome to any local citizen in Maryland who wants to come to the City of Benson and tour our biomass facility. Fibrowatt has been a great neighbor and great addition to our community.”
The facility will incorporate the use of the most advanced state-of-the-art emissions control systems that have ever been applied to a biomass power plant. The project will, by converting power and steam production from a fossil fuel to a renewable fuel, reduce green house gas emissions by an estimated 165,000 tons of CO2 annually. The ash produced from the combustion of poultry litter will be a valuable fertilizer by-product which will be marketed for broad application in the agricultural sector.
About Perdue AgriBusiness
Perdue AgriBusiness ranks among the top U.S. grain companies and is committed to helping its customers prosper with flexible, forward-thinking solutions for agriculturally based products from a uniquely trusted name. Perdue AgriBusiness is a direct exporter of U.S. agricultural commodities through the company’s deepwater port in Chesapeake, Va. Perdue AgriBusiness merchandises grain and oilseeds, processes soybeans, operates protein conversion and blending plants, trades a wide variety of agricultural commodities and refines edible oils. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Perdue AgriBusiness ventures touch such diverse opportunities as bio-energy, organic fertilizers and specialty livestock feeds.
Fibrowatt LLC is a developer, owner and operator of poultry litter fueled power plants. The management team of Fibrowatt pioneered the production of renewable energy from poultry litter. Fibrowatt is part of the Homeland Renewable Energy Group (“HRE”), based in Pennsylvania, which specializes in producing energy from agricultural wastes, including poultry litter, cattle manure, hog manure and food wastes. The HRE engineering team has successfully overcome the various challenges inherent in the combustion or anaerobic digestion of natural by-products of farming and animal husbandry to produce the cleanest possible biomass energy. In 2011, HRE announced the launch of a creative and new emissions control system, which will enable biomass power plants, including the Clean Bay Power Project, to achieve extremely low air emission levels — ensuring that the project will comply with all applicable state and federal regulatory requirements.